Choose Your Own Adventure

A Choose Your Own Adventure Book

The Adventure of the Drover’s Wife

You will need:

• A die.

• A pencil and paper.

To begin:

• Roll the die once and record the number. This is your strength.

• Roll the die again and record the number. This is your agility.

• Roll the die a final time and record the number. This is your charm.


1

You are a woman living in a remote property in the Australian bush with your four children, one of them only a baby. Your husband, a drover, has been away for months, and you feel very lonely. You have the strangest feeling that something bad is going to happen.

If you decide to leave the property and head for the nearest town, go to 3. If you decide to stay, go to 4.

2

The kangaroo leaps onto you as your children cry out in terror. You can feel its rancid breath on your cheek. One of your hands holds its muzzle shut while your other hand scrabbles in the dust. Your fingers close over a stout stick, but the kangaroo strikes it from your grasp with a bloodied claw. Just as you are about to lose consciousness, you feel the weight of the kangaroo fall away from you. Tommy stands over it screaming, ‘(Adjective) kangaroo!’ again and again as he bludgeons it with the stick. Finally, the kangaroo is dead.

Your children help you up, and you continue on with them for seventeen lonely miles. Finally, just as exhaustion and sunstroke are about to catch up with you, you arrive at a shanty belonging to your neighbour, and safety.

Congratulations! You have survived the Adventure of The Drover’s Wife!

3

You gather your children and your few belongings and set off along the dirt road that leads out of the property. “Snake! Mother, there’s a snake!’” calls out one of the children, and you see a long black snake slither along a few metres to your right, towards your shack. You shudder to think what might have happened had you been alone in the house with the snake.

The weary hours pass as, with children in tow, and baby in the perambulator, you trudge along in the afternoon sun. Towards evening you come to narrow valley wooded with ghost gums. Suddenly, from behind the trees leaps an enormous, rabid kangaroo. Its bloodshot eyes stare at you over a fleck-foamed snout. With a huge leap, the kangaroo attacks you. Roll the dice and add it to your strength score.

If you scored more than nine, go to 2. If you scored less than nine, go to 6.

4

You decide there is no use feeling sorry for yourself, and instead find comfort in thinking about the buggy that your husband once bought for you. Smiling wanly, you stand in the kitchen, doing the washing up. Suddenly, one of your children screams, “Snake! Mother, here's a snake!”

If you run outside immediately, go to 8. If you shout, “How many times have I told you not to tell stories about snakes, you mongrel?” go to 5.

5

You shout through the window at the child, telling it not to fib. “But it’s right here!” Jacky says, as the dog barks and growls. “I’ll show you the side of my hand” you roar at the children, and the dog quietens. The children go back to their play, and you finish cleaning the kitchen. At last Tommy shouts, “It’s alright, mother. The snake has gone.”

“The little blanks,” you smile. “A snake, indeed.”

You sit down for a moment, pick up a copy of the Young Ladies Journal and start to read.

Congratulations! You have survived the Adventure of The Drover’s Wife!

6

The kangaroo lands on your chest, knocking the wind from you. Before you can rise, it cuffs you senseless with its paw, and the last thing you feel is its teeth around your throat, as the children scream for their mother.

Your adventure is over.

 

7

You start to croon, ‘Waltzing Matilda’ and the snake’s eyes slowly begin to close. But when you stumble over the third verse it awakens, and with a savage hiss, it shoots forward and bits you on the jugular vein. Within seconds, you swell up, smell, and turn red and green and blue all over till you bust.

Your adventure is over.

8

You rush outside and gasp in horror as, only a few feet from the children, a long, black snake glides across the lawn towards the house.

If you shout to the dog to attack it, go to 11. If you decide to attack it yourself, go to 12. If you decide to talk to the snake, go to 9.

9

You try to soothe the snake by singing a lullaby. Roll the dice and add it to your charm score.

If you scored more than thirteen, go to 17. If you scored less than thirteen, go to go to 7.

10

You tell your son to go back to bed. As he opens his mouth to argue, an enormous meteor impacts directly on your house, vaporising you, your children, and everything within a 50 km radius.

Your husband, the drover, awakes with a start on a hill some distance outside the blast zone, to see the night sky lit up with a sickly sunrise.

Your adventure is over.

11

Your dog chases the snake under the house. You take the children inside, make them dinner and put them to bed. You prepare to stay awake all night.

If you decide to think about the past, go to 14. If you decide to think about the future, go to 15.

12

You rush to the kitchen to find the long carving knife you last used to kill a chicken. Your heart beating fast, you ransack the kitchen drawers until you find it. You smile. This will make short work of the snake. You run out the doorway and trip over your dog, Alligator, who has come to see what you are doing. Losing your balance, you tumble forward and land on the knife, which pierces your chest, enters your heart, and kills you instantly.

Your adventure is over.

13

You sit thus together while the sickly daylight breaks over the bush.

Congratulations! You have survived the Adventure of The Drover’s Wife!

14

You think about your husband and your marriage, bushfires and the drought of 18--. You think about your children, the living and the dead. The time passes slowly. It is nearly daylight when the dog begins to growl. With a start, you see the snake come out from under one of the slabs.

If you grab a knife, go to 12. If you grab a stick, go to 16.

15

You wonder when your husband will come home, and what will become of your children if he doesn’t. He has promised that you will all move into town when he comes back, but he has broken so many promises already. The thought depresses you. “No use fretting,” you say, but though this sentiment normally comforts you, tonight it does nothing to assuage your loneliness. Finally, you give into your despair, allowing yourself the luxury of a good cry. After drying your tears with a holey handkerchief, your eyelids grow heavy, and you fall asleep. You accidentally knock a candle on to the floor, and a pile of sewing starts to smoulder. Finally, the Young Ladies Journal catches fire, and soon the flames spread.

In your dreams you are being pursued by a bushfire, and you wake up screaming to find that the fire is real. Your clothes are consumed with flames and you flail around in your death agony, setting alight the rest of the house. You plunge out of the door, running and howling through the bush. You finally collapse and expire with a sigh in an area of scrub in front of the house. Your smouldering corpse starts a conflagration that destroys two hundred acres of bush and kills seventy two people, including your husband, the drover, thirty miles away, who dies of suffocation in his sleep.

Your adventure is over.

16

You grab a stick, and strike the snake, again and again, until you have broken its back. Then you throw the snake on the fire and, with some satisfaction, watch it burn. Your youngest son, awoken by the struggle, throws his arms around your neck and exclaims, “Mother, I won't never go drovin' blarst me if I do!"

If you hug him to your worn out breast and kiss him, go to 13. If you tell him to go back to bed, go to 10.

17

Your husband always complemented you on your lovely singing voice, and you know there will never be a better time to use it. Clearing your throat softly, you begin to sing the bush lullaby that your own mother sang to you, and that you sang every night to your own children, “Baa baa black sheep.” The snake stares into your eyes, becoming hypnotised. Finally, when you feel the reptile is completely under your control, you order it to leave the property. Slithering from side to side in time with the chorus, the snake departs, never to be seen again.

Congratulations! You have survived the Adventure of The Drover’s Wife!

Look out for other titles in the series: The Warlock of Cloudstreet, The Harpy in the South, Hanging at Picnic Rock, The Misfortunes of Richard Mahoney and Gould’s Book of Flesh.